If you are not yet a business analyst and are not currently employed, it can be really tough to dig up business analyst projects. (While an individual employed in an office setting, regardless of their job title, can kickstart a virtuous cycle of one BA opportunity leading to another, this option isn’t available to the unemployed or those employed outside an office setting.
Yet that doesn’t mean you don’t have any opportunities. They might just be a bit different. You know that you can expand the work history section of your resume by volunteering, but how do you actually find these positions?
Idea #1 – Look to Non-Profits
It’s very likely that the non-profits that you care about need business analysis support and can’t afford to hire a business analyst as part of their full-time staff. Non-profit organizations have business processes, often significant ones. Often because their organizations are grown by a variety of grassroots efforts, those processes are not well documented or understood.
Enter in you as a business analyst.
I’ve helped course participants document processes for their church, local parent-teacher group, and local organizations for which they already serve as volunteer.
Idea #2 – Look to Small Businesses
Like non-profits, small businesses are often not in the position to hire a full-time business analyst but are definitely in need of BA services. One of our course participants volunteered at a local pharmacy, the owner of which happened to be well-connected in her target industry. After about 10 hours of pro bono work she’d secured a valuable item to add to the work history section of her resume and talk about in job interviews.
For another example of how this works, read how Kimberley Heath volunteered to expand her BA experience.
Here’s the Really Important Thing
When you first approach an organization about volunteering as a business analyst, they might not understand your offer. If you say “do you need a BA?” And they say “no”.
That might seem like the end of the story, but it’s not.
Just like a lot of companies out there, those desperately needing volunteers don’t necessarily understand the business analyst role. That means they don’t understand your offer.
Instead, ask probing questions to get to some of the pain points you might help them solve using business analysis techniques. (And in the process, you’ll already be using some elicitation.) Then offer to help them solve a specific problem.
And There’s One More Thing Not To Do
Since you are volunteering, it can be tempting to wait for the “perfect” position instead of jumping into a “good enough” role and creating a business analyst position out of the opportunity. Just like most BA professionals morphed their way into business analyst positions, the volunteer position market is similar. An open mind and a drive to apply the BA fundamentals will open opportunities.
But first you have to get started.
Learn More About Expanding Your BA Experience
Join our step-by-step BA career planning course for new and aspiring business analysts (it’s free).